What Is Multicultural Education

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What is a multicultural classroom? First and foremost it is a classroom, characterized by an ethos of caring and equity. The pedagogy supports active participation through role-plays, simulations, and hands-on activities. Students learn, through their own experiences, that people's actions make a difference. Education that is multicultural is a continuous, integrated, multiethnic, multidisciplinary process for educating all students about diversity. Diversity factors include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, region, religion, gender, language, socioeconomic status, age, and individuals with disabilities. It encompasses curricular infusion and instructional strategies in all subject areas. Education that is multicultural prepares students to live, learn, interact, and work creatively in an interdependent global society by fostering mutual appreciation and respect. As ethnic diversity increases in our society and our schools, programs that offer learning in a multicultural and international context help students to value their own heritage and to value and appreciate people from other cultures. As schools continue to increase their commitment to equity for all students, and to deepen and enrich their programs in multicultural education, there is also increasing interest in communicating with students in other countries. The aim of multicultural education is to ensure equity in education for all students and to help empower young people to make the world a better place both individually and collectively. It is now well recognized that all students do not learn in the same way. Teaching that is limited to strategies the teacher has found effective during his or her own education may not reach all students in ways that make it possible for them to learn. Therefore, teachers need to broaden their teaching strategies and renewing their enthusiasm for teaching, as their students become more successful at learning. The school curriculum needs to reflect our full history, including the contributions and experiences of people of color and women. Thereby, all students can see themselves in history and students of all races can develop a greater respect and appreciation for each other. School policy and pedagogy should promote cooperation among students of all races to prepare them for life in a pluralistic, multicultural, and global society. The native language of non-native English speakers and their parents should be treated as an asset, not a weakness For many, learning can be facilitated with charts diagrams, mind-maps, computers, video, or other kinds of visual aids. People have their own individual learning style. Individual differences such as the preference for learning alone or in groups, concretely or abstractly, completing teacher-generated projects or creating original ones can be accommodated in any classroom where there is a variety of learning activities. Also, improved student performance and self-esteem are often the result of learning in different environments. We need to consider the role that schools and society in general have in creating low self-esteem in children. Multicultural education encompasses all aspects of school life. The values of multicultural education must be modeled throughout the school environment. In a school, there may be posters in the hallway that celebrate diverse cultures. There might be welcome signs in multiple languages. Multicultural education is designed to help unify a deeply divided nation rather than to divide a highly cohesive one. Multicultural education may bring problems to the surface, giving the appearance of creating conflict. But if a school's entire staff and faculty are committed to working through that conflict, then unity based on new, more equitable relationships can be achieved. There are many different ways teachers can incorporate multicultural education into their lesson plans. A teacher can collect pictures that challenge the biases and stereotypes that...
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